Here in one passage of scripture we find two perfect examples. One of what it means to finish Strong, and the other to finish weak.
2 Timothy 4:6-8
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
Finishing strong or well, has a different meaning than just finishing.
(MSG) 6-8You take over. I’m about to die, my life an offering on God’s altar. This is the only race worth running. I’ve run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that’s left now is the shouting—God’s applause! Depend on it, he’s an honest judge. He’ll do right not only by me, but by everyone eager for his coming.
10 for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica
Thoughts on finishing Strong.
The average person feels like its good enough to just finish. Merely finishing is just surviving.
Finishing strong is winning, its ending with purpose, completing with excellence.
Finishing strong is less about externals or things people can see. Finishing strong is measured by our internal capacity and How successfully we will start the next thing.
The average person goes through life with it all running together. Never stopping to evaluate, never thinking it through. Whatever happens, happens.
A person of purpose or significance takes natural starts and stops to evaluate. To measure where we are, and envision where we go from here. Gods plan and purpose for us are so important that we must be strong Finishers as well as Strong Starters.
So as we draw near to the end of this year, we look at what we’ve done and plan for what we will do.
***Lets look at the two men in this scripture, one of which was the ultimate in strong Finishers, the other was the ultimate in failing to finish. These two men were friends who parted company over this very thing.
***Lets look at the weak finisher first. Lets see what keeps him from Finishing strong.
Demas: In other epistles Demas is referred to with honor and like one of the team, but at this moment a crisis moment, Paul facing his death and the Gospel being preached to the highest levels in Rome. Could be considered the greatest moment in the churches history at that time, and this is how we will all remember Demas.
For Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica.
1. Weak finishers forsake their intended purpose. They lose sight of their Goal.
• Demas at a pivotal point, a crisis moment, just lost sight of what was important, and quit.
2. Weak finishers confuse their devotion. They love the wrong things.
• Demas loved “this present world” This implies, he chose temporal things over eternal. He made his world more important than the kingdom. He was tired of waiting for the future and wanted his now! He became impatient and driven by his own desire instead of a greater purpose
3. Weak finishers are distracted and go off course.
• Thessalonica was a metropolis, a big city, a place with numbers of options and things to take our mind off priorities. Lots of distractions. Anything that pulls us off course from our kingdom purpose is a distraction. Our world is filled with them. We can not let distractions take us off course. It’s tiring to hear Christians say, “how did I get here” I want to be spiritually hungry and I want to fulfill my purpose in life, but somehow I’m off course. It’s simple, they’re distracted.
Paul: The other friend in this story is Paul. He is the ultimate example for finishing strong. We can finish with Great confidence, we can end one season and go into the next with Strength and power. No matter what we have gone through or what our circumstances have brought us, we can finish strong and begin again with power.
Paul Said, “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness with the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day and not to me only but also all who have loved his appearing.
1. Strong finishers surrender to a great cause, and are fully given to the cause. (poured out)
• They hold nothing back, they have an all or nothing mentality. They look at their life like an offering. They are giving their life for a cause. Rom. 12:2 …living sacrifice.
2. Strong finishers are willing to fight to finish well.
• They realize this is a battle its not easy, and they are willing to face the challenges and fight for it. They look at obstacles as opportunities, not places to stop.
• Paul fought for the Gospel he was attacked on many levels and he fought through it.
3. Strong finishers are focused on finishing
• Not looking for rest stops
• Not looking to slow down and let the race pass them by
• Not looking to get most of the way there.
• They are focused on the finish line
4. Strong finishers always believe in the outcome and don’t allow for quitting, ever!
• They don’t have a back door mentality
• They believe In the goal, in the purpose, in the cause more than anything. They will not quit until they finish and they will finish well.